Yesterday we piled into the almost-paid-for (just two more stacks of cash!) Camry, and went to Knoebels. We made two pilgrimages to the great old amusement park this season, once during the first week of kid-summer, and another during the last week. School cranks up again next Wednesday.
I snapped a load of photos, and tried not to repeat the other pics I’ve posted of Knoebels through the years. The one above pretty much sums it up for me at this point: I go for the food. I usually climb aboard just two rides, the Phoenix roller coaster and the haunted house. And eat the rest of the time.
Here are the other pictures; they’re not the greatest, but I hope they capture the general feeling. And below are a few quick notes about our latest Knoebels adventure:
- I thought fanny packs, surely one of the most hideous of all fashion trends, finally went out of “style” a few years ago? Well, apparently not in central PA. They were everywhere, and I even saw one so elaborate and oversized, it had drink holders. I’m not kidding. I also noticed a man sporting a camouflage fanny pack, and a woman rocking one with the Proctor & Gamble logo on the side. WTF? I’m not exactly a fashion plate over here, but even I know better than to strap a vinyl transport sack to my torso. Good god.
- On a similar note… I’d like to get your opinion on something. At what point is a t-shirt with a date on it too old? You know, shirts commemorating rock tours, or family reunions, or 10k walks, or whatever — with dates on them. How many years is too many? I saw a guy wearing a shirt yesterday, celebrating some goal reached at his job, in 2002. I think that’s a bit much. My inner sensors tell me that shirts (in public) should only be from the current year, or the previous one. Am I way off on this? Tell me what you think.
- I saw a 14 year old boy walking through the park with a fishing pole and a tackle box. Yeah, I have no idea… It reminded me of an old Jay Leno joke, from back when he was funny. He said that some Japanese tourists apparently don’t grasp the concept of Disney World, because he saw a few of them in line at Space Mountain carrying luggage. I thought that was funny, and it’s stuck with me for thirty years.
- What’s the story with all the body braces? Almost every other person in the park had some sort of brace attached to them. Knee braces… elbow braces… neck braces… those big warehouse lifting belts… What the hell, man? Why so many? It seemed like 40% of the people we saw yesterday apparently require joint compression, or a little help keeping their heads from flopping sideways. And they’re in an amusement park, with roller coasters?? Are braces in, or something? I have no idea what’s cool these days. Maybe knee braces are hep?
- I also noticed an inordinate number of canes, and people who looked like they’d been trapped in an industrial fire. Also, women who appeared to be 17 year old girls from a distance, but when we got close to them… their faces were leathery and weathered, and completely sunken-in due to decades of Pall Mall and Jim Beam abuse. I love Knoebels, but it sometimes feels like we’re walking through the remnants of a catastrophic Wal-Mart explosion.
- Finally, I rode the Ferris Wheel yesterday for the first time. I don’t like heights much, and always found a reason not to go up in that Circle of Death. Yeah, I know… It’s a freaking Ferris Wheel — old ladies ride the Ferris Wheel. But I’m not a fan of the part when you’re at the top, rocking back and forth. Know what I mean? I don’t have a problem with the roller coaster, because it’s always moving. But it bothers me to be sitting still up there, gently swaying. I also have visions of a freakish gust of wind kicking up, and turning the entire Wheel over sideways. Heh. Is that irrational? I probably shouldn’t admit so much…
Oh well. Knoebels is a lot of fun, despite what I just wrote. We have a blast every time, and I love having it nearby. The wooden coasters are kick-ass (people travel great distances to ride them), and the whole place is retro but well-maintained. Plus, the food is fantastic, and reasonably-priced. They don’t gouge you like most such places do.
While Toney and I were waiting for the boys to finish up with the bumper cars, I looked around and imagined the park looks pretty much the same as it did in, say, 1971. And I started wondering… if someone from that year were somehow transported to Knoebels today, what would they notice as being different? The fanny packs? The rampant obesity? Definitely the cell phones, and everybody walking around texting. But what else? Help me out with that, won’t you?
Also, if we were transported BACK to Knoebels circa 1971, what would seem strange to us?
I’ll see you guys again soon. I have to work on Sunday night, but have Monday off because of the holiday. So, no long weekend for me. Sunday night is like a speed bump that ruins everything.
But I hope you have a great one.
See ya next time!